First Published: 2012-12-02

 

For First time in Kuwait: Shiites emerge as main victors in polls

 

Shiite candidates bag 15 of 50-seat parliament, after they refused to join calls by Sunni-dominated opposition to boycott polls.

 

Middle East Online

By Omar Hasan - KUWAIT CITY

Three women elected compared to four in 2009

The Shiite minority Sunday emerged the main victors in Kuwait's parliamentary polls boycotted by the opposition which considered the new assembly "illegitimate" amid poor voter turnout.

Shiite candidates bagged 15 of the 50-seat parliament, their biggest tally ever, as they refused to join calls by the Sunni-dominated opposition to boycott the polls in protest against the amendment of electoral law.

Shiites, who form around 30 percent of Kuwait's native population of 1.2 million, had nine seats in the previous parliament elected in 2009 and seven in the assembly elected in February and later scrapped by a court.

Three women were elected to the new parliament compared to four in 2009, according to results released by the National Election Commission.

The new house includes as many as 30 new faces reflecting the total boycott by former MPs who are leading members of the opposition.

Sunni Islamists were reduced to a small minority of four MPs compared with as many as 23 in the house elected in February.

The boycott was called to protest the government's unilateral amendment of the key electoral law ahead of the polls. The opposition says the action enabled the government to manipulate the outcome of polls.

The opposition hailed the boycott as very successful as a majority of voters stayed home, and described the election as "unconstitutional."

"Based on statistics compiled by the opposition, the voter turnout was 26.7 percent," said former MP Khaled al-Sultan at the end of an emergency meeting by the opposition after the ballots closed.

The information ministry website however reported that turnout was 38.8 percent and opposition youth groups reported lower percentages. No official figures have been released by the National ELection Commission.

Veteran opposition leader Ahmad al-Saadoun said the "election is unconstitutional," while several other former MPs called on Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to repeal the disputed amendment.

The opposition Popular Committee for Boycotting Election said in a statement that the new parliament "does not represent the majority of Kuwaiti people and has lost popular and political legitimacy."

It also said all legislation issued by the house will be considered illegal.

The Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition had vowed to continue street protests until it forces the demise of the parliament.

Political analyst Mohammad al-Ajmi said the new parliament will be unlikely to survive for a long period as the country appears headed for an escalation of tension.

"I think the election will herald a new phase of political instability following the huge boycott ... because the new parliament does not fairly represent the Kuwaiti society," Ajmi said.

The major Bedouin tribes which boycotted the polls were the main losers, according to Ajmi.

The Awazem, Mutair and Ajmans, the biggest three tribes with a population of over 400,000 people have only one MP in the new parliament against an average of 17 in previous assemblies.

Voting passed off without any incident despite high political tension between the Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition and the government led by the Al-Sabah ruling family.

The vote, the second in 10 months and the fifth since mid-2006, came nearly two months after the emir dissolved a pro-government parliament following its reinstatement in June by a court ruling.

As per Kuwaiti law, the cabinet must resign and a new government be formed before the new assembly holds its inaugural session within two weeks.

The OPEC member has been rocked by a series of political crises which stalled development despite a huge wealth from oil.

 

Moscow seeks to boost its influence in Kurdistan through oil

Tillerson does not expect Gulf crisis to be resolved soon

Lebanon approves first budget since 2005

Iraq army takes last Kurd-held area of Kirkuk province

Ancient Turkish town set to vanish forever under floodwaters

Israel hits Syrian artillery after Golan fire

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike

Yemen rebel youth minister urges children to join war

Iran's Guards show no intention of curbing activities in Mideast

EU will cut some money for Turkey as ties sour

Iraqi workers return to oil fields retaken from Kurds

Kurdish disarray shows resurgence of Iraq's army

Iranian military chief visits frontline near Syria's Aleppo

Turkey issues arrest warrants for 110 people over Gulen links

Hamas calls US unity comments ‘blatant interference’

OPEC chief pleased with oil market rebalancing

Turkish police detain leading civil society figure

G7, tech giants meet to tackle terror online

Iraq’s Kurdish regional government open to Baghdad talks

Tensions flare among Yemen's rebels

Baghdad court issues arrest warrant for Iraqi Kurd VP

Erdogan, Nigerian counterpart to ramp up cooperation

Russian medics operate on Yemen's Saleh despite embargo

Baghdad condemns oil deal between Russia’s Rosneft, Kurds

Power shifts again in Iraq's multi-ethnic Kirkuk

Syrian general accused of journalist deaths killed in Deir Ezzor

Raqa liberators ready for civilian handover, on to next battle

Revolutionary Guards say Iranian missile program will continue

Erdogan calls on three major mayors to resign

ICC investigating several war crimes in Mali

Erdogan says may shut Iraqi border at any moment

Tunisian couple jailed for 'public indecency' over car kiss

Next round of Syria talks at end October

Gazans hope Palestinian reconciliation ends their woes

PSG's Khelaifi to be quizzed in Swiss World Cup probe

UN urges de-escalation in Iraq

Haley: Iran must be judged in totality of its aggressive behaviour

EU says Israeli settlements illegal under international law

Kurdish independence goes from dream to dust

Female commander more than just poster girl for Raqa victory

Saudi airline flies to Baghdad for first time in 27 years